“The Lion King” is one of modern cinema’s most beloved animated franchises. Since the original film’s release in 1994, this epic tale of a young lion’s journey to reclaim his rightful place as king of the Pride Lands has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. Over the years, the story has continued to evolve, with sequels, prequels, and even a live-action adaptation bringing new twists and turns to this classic tale.
Keeping track of the movies can be challenging for The Lion King fans. With various adaptations and spinoffs released over the years, it can be difficult to know where to start or how many films are a part of the franchise. However, for those willing to explore the vast and vibrant world of “The Lion King,” there is no shortage of adventures waiting to be discovered.
How Many The Lion King Movies Are There?
If you’re a fan of “The Lion King,” you might wonder how many movies are part of this beloved franchise. The good news is that there are several films to enjoy, each offering a unique take on this classic tale. Here are the Lion King movies in order:
- The Lion King (1994)
- Timon & Pumbaa (1995–1999)
- The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (1998)
- The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004)
- The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar (2015)
- The Lion Guard (2015–2022)– TV Show
- The Lion King (2019) – Live Action
Now let us see what is the best way to watch The Lion King movies in order.
The Lion King Movies in Order
You can watch The Lion King movie in the release order suggested above or in chronological order, which we will show you below. We will also let you know what each movie is about.
The Lion King (1994)
The carefree childhood of Prince Simba, the son of the powerful King Mufasa, is abruptly ended when his uncle Scar kills his father and holds Simba responsible and banishes him from the kingdom. In exile, the lion befriends Pumba the warthog and Timon the meerkat, with whom he spends his days and from whom he learns.
But the day of his coming of age approaches and Simba is visited by his father’s ghost, who tells him that he must return to the kingdom, defeat Scar and take his place on the throne. Embracing the “hakuna matata” philosophy and his comic friends, Simba sets out to claim what is rightfully his.
Timon & Pumbaa (1995–1999)
Timon & Pumbaa is an animated TV series from 1995 to 1999. It is a spin-off of the original “Lion King” movie, focusing on the comedic adventures of the popular characters Timon (a meerkat) and Pumbaa (a warthog).
The show features the duo as they explore different parts of the world, meet new characters, and get into all sorts of humorous hijinks along the way. The episodes often feature friendship, teamwork, and acceptance themes, incorporating catchy songs and references to pop culture.
Throughout the show, Timon and Pumbaa must navigate various challenges, including evading predators, solving puzzles, and saving the world from environmental disasters.
The series is primarily set after the first film’s events, although some episodes are set before or during those events. That is why we have put it before The Lion King 1 1/2, which mostly takes place at the same time as the original movie.
The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004)
The Lion King 1 1/2, also known as The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata, is a unique retelling of the original Lion King story. The film takes a fresh perspective on the tale, showing us what happened behind the scenes and offering a comedic take on some classic scenes. The story follows Timon and Pumbaa, two of the most beloved characters from the original movie, as they recount their side of the story leading up to and during the first film’s events.
The movie begins with Timon and Pumbaa living carefree lives in the jungle and enjoying their motto of “Hakuna Matata.” However, when they stumble upon Simba, who has run away from the Pride Lands after believing he caused his father’s death, they take him in and help him find a new home. Along the way, we get to see some classic moments from the original movie but from a new and hilarious perspective.
The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (1998)
After the death of the treacherous Scar, Simba is the king of the animals. The day came when he announced the good news with his beloved Nala – the birth of their daughter, Princess Kiara. But the naughty little lioness wanders beyond the kingdom’s borders into the forbidden land, where she meets the lioness Kova, her new friend.
She doesn’t know that he is the son of Zira, a follower of Scar and now the leader of the exiles. Zira plans to use Kiara in a conspiracy to make her son the new king. But Kova’s sympathy for Kiara deepens over time.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar (2015)
“The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar” is a made-for-TV movie that serves as a pilot for the subsequent “The Lion Guard” animated series. The movie tells the story of Kion, the son of Simba and Nala, who is tasked with leading a new team of young animals to protect the Pride Lands from various threats.
Kion is given a special ability called the “Roar of the Elders,” which allows him to communicate with the spirits of the great lions of the past. With this power, Kion and his team – including a honey badger named Bunga, a cheetah named Fuli, a hippopotamus named Beshte, and an egret named Ono – work together to defend the Pride Lands from enemies like hyenas and vultures.
The Lion Guard (TV Series 2015–2022)
Kion is Simba, Nala’s son, Kiara’s younger brother, and Prince of the Pride Land. As the king’s second-born child, Kion becomes the leader of the Lion Guard, a team that guards their land and defends the Circle of Life. Kion and his friends Bunga the honey badger, Beshte the hippopotamus, Fuli the cheetah, and Ono the heron mostly defend their home from the hyena Janja and his clan.
Kion is Simba, Nala’s son, Kiara’s younger brother, and Prince of the Proud Land. As the king’s second-born child, Kion becomes the leader of the Lion Guard, a team that guards their land and defends the Circle of Life. Kion and his friends Bunga the honey badger, Beshte the hippopotamus, Fuli the cheetah and Ono the heron mostly defend their home from the hyena Janja and his clan.
The show’s events occur during the time gap between The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, released in 1998. The third and final season of the show takes place during the film’s second act, with the last two episodes serving as an epilogue to the movie.
The Lion King (2019)
The Lion King (2019) is a live-action adaptation of the original 1994 animated film of the same name. The movie tells the story of Simba, a young lion prince destined to become the king of the Pride Lands, a vast and beautiful African savanna. However, when tragedy strikes and Simba’s father, Mufasa, is killed by his uncle Scar, Simba is forced to flee the Pride Lands and abandon his rightful place as king.
As Simba grows up in exile, he befriends a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa, who teach him the philosophy of “Hakuna Matata” (no worries). But when Simba’s childhood friend Nala finds him and asks him to return to the Pride Lands to take his rightful place as king and restore order to the kingdom, Simba must face his past and confront Scar in a final battle for the future of the Pride Lands.
Do You Need to Watch The Lion King Movies in Order?
You should watch animated The Lion King movies and shows in order if you want to see everything in the franchise in the right order. That said, in which order you will watch it, by the release date, or chronologically, is unimportant. Also, you can skip the shows if you don’t want to watch them and watch The Lion King’s live-action movie whenever you want.
Will There Be More The Lion King Movies In The Future?
During the Disney and Pixar panel at the 2022 D23 Expo, it was announced that Mufasa: The Lion King is set to be released in 2024. Disney has confirmed that the film will hit theaters on July 5, 2024, though this could be subject to change.